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The benefits isolation can have on your work

Short, intense communication

Research showed that teams working with short "bursts" of communication, followed by longer periods of silence, performed better than less intense conversations extended over a long time.

Short but intense communication helps to maintain momentum and motivation and create feelings of enthusiasm.

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The benefits isolation can have on your work

The benefits isolation can have on your work

https://www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20200513-the-benefits-isolation-can-have-on-your-work

bbc.com

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Key Ideas

Less communication might be beneficial

So many people across the world are now working remotely. They may be concerned about the loss of regular facetime with their team.

But the latest psychological literature suggests that constant collaboration can reduce 'collective intelligence.' Less communication might actually be more beneficial to a team's joint problem-solving ability.

Group communication

In a 2015 study, researchers found that more communication in a group results in the team members quickly converging on a consensus without really exploring alternatives.

In less well-connected groups, team members suffered a bit with information gathering but were less likely to reach a consensus too quickly. Each member built on their own theories, which resulted in a greater diversity of ideas.

Alone time

Researchers tested how the rhythm of our communication can influence our problem-solving. The participants were divided into three groups.

  • Groups with continuous interaction had a good average performance, but the team members tended to conform to mediocre solutions.
  • People working independently didn't have the opportunity to benefit from other's solutions.
  • The intermittent communication group was the best of both worlds. They could build on the diversity of the ideas that were created independently.

Short, intense communication

Research showed that teams working with short "bursts" of communication, followed by longer periods of silence, performed better than less intense conversations extended over a long time.

Short but intense communication helps to maintain momentum and motivation and create feelings of enthusiasm.

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Remote-first Mindset

Accept that you have to put in place remote work systems, even if more than half of your employees ultimately revert to office-based work.

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Intentionally design for the same interactions that would otherwise happen if people were in the office.

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  • A great culture happens with intentional design and influence. It's the reason you should make your company's mission, vision, values, operating principles, standards, and agreements visible. 
  • Culture is experienced through emotions, including how your employees feel about the company, you, other leaders, and peers. That feeling is developed through human interaction at the water cooler, kitchen, or hallway conversations.
Your leadership presence

Your people need to feel your presence as a leader as they will have fewer opportunities to see you face to face when they work remotely.

  • Regularly show up in a variety of forms that can include weekly video meetings, periodic company-wide emails, or presence in public channels.
  • Err on the side of more communication rather than less.

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Social Loafing

It describes the fact that we tend to make fewer contributions when we are in a group versus when we work alone (or are solely charged with the responsibility). 

When a nu...

What Causes Social Loafing
  • Social loafing is influenced by the quality of the relationships between co-workers: where there is group cohesiveness, social loafing isn't really that strong.
  • Social loafing is also influences by the size of the group: bigger groups dictate less individual effort. So if you're in a big company, you tend to believe that surely there must be someone else that will solve a specific problem.
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Reducing social loafing tendency and increasing contributions among your team comes down to trust. So find people you trust and then give them the ability to make decisions.

And sometimes it's important to give people the option to not take action if that’s what they think is the right course.

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Phantom workload looks like real work but results in massive unproductivity and even conflict in an organization. The pressure to meet unrealistic expectations causes a vicious cycle of further workload.

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The phenomenon of 'Groupthink' leads to ego clashes and reinforcement of existing biases. They somethings fail to reach any decision and may complicate matters further by incorporating all points of view. Design by Committee is something best avoided.

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Collective Intelligence

An extensive study in 'Groupthink' which included testing the social sensitivity, as well as the IQ of the individuals, showed that:

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Bring facilitation techniques to encourage participation.

By giving team members time and resources to grow, learn, and explore you get a better quality and wider brainstorming. 

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Open communication

It doesn’t mean just telling people to share their thoughts, but actually doing it yourself and setting clear rules and guidelines about how to share.

It isn’t just about how you share information but also what gets shared. 

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Group Development Theory

Dr. Bruce Tuckman, a psychology professor, synthesized team development into four basic stages: Forming, Storming, Norming, and Performing.

Forming

This stage of teamwork is all about first meetings and first impressions.

What everyone needs most is a clear understanding of their part in the journey and a setup for building emotional connections. Setting goals together puts their skills and interests into the open.

Storming

Most teams go through the storming stage in some form or another because discord is inevitable. The key value to emphasize in the team is positive intent. 

A little conflict is needed to bring upfront weak spots in projects and to bring new valid arguments to the table. But constant storming leads to the destruction of productivity, projects, and ultimately, the team itself.

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Getting into remote working
Getting into remote working

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Working well

Virtual teamwork places greater emphasis on communication and organization.

Over the short-term, newly formed virtual teams experience more negative outcomes, such as team conflict, lower satisfaction, less knowledge sharing, and poorer performance. But, they will adapt and improve over time.

Adapting quickly

At an individual level, some people will find it easier to adapt than others.

  • A study revealed that when people are imaginative and enjoying a new challenge, they are happier to embrace virtual teamwork.
  • Extroverted individuals prefer face-to-face work, and virtual work may lessen the energy they get from social interaction.
  • Introverts are better at adapting to a virtual environment as it involves less face-to-face interaction.
  • Those who like to make quick decisions prefer virtual teams.

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